To the residents of Verde Valley, Pine-Strawberry and Payson communities:
The Forest Service wants to extend its appreciation for the patience and understanding you exhibited during the month that the Pine Fire was burning.
The Pine Fire started July 2 in the Pine Mountain Wilderness, and grew to over 7,000 acres. Many of you have expressed concerns about the smoke from that fire, as well as concerns about whether the fire was going to burn to your communities. We hope that we finally got the word out to all of you that the fire was being actively managed and that there was no danger to your communities.
We know that the smoke impacted many of you, especially those of you with respiratory illnesses and asthma. We want to express our sincere appreciation for the patience you exhibited with the smoke impacts on your homes and persons.
Fire management personnel from the Prescott and Tonto National Forests actively managed the Pine Fire burning in the Pine Mountain Wilderness. The strategy used was to suppress the fire by letting it burn to natural barriers or to let the increase in precipitation with the summer monsoons stop the fire. In this regard, the suppression efforts on the fire were very successful.
The only time our firefighters, both on the ground and in the air, were in harm's way was in the protection of private property and improvements. There was also significant cost savings in managing this wildfire using this strategy.
Thank you again for your patience and understanding through this month-long effort.
Thomas D. Bonomo, District Ranger, Verde Ranger District, Prescott National Forest
Delvin R. Lopez, District Ranger, Cave Creek Ranger District, Tonto National Forest